Previously Known For: As Hamilton “Ham” Porter in The Sandlot
|Currently Known For: Bad Roomies and Appearances in Boston Legal, The X-Files, Bones, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation|
“On Sandlot, I remember hanging out on our off days and running around with all the guys and raising hell in Salt Lake City and going to movies, you know, and things like that.” Showing hints of his Boston accent anytime he gets excited, Patrick Renna learned to use his Boston charm to his favor as a young actor getting his feet wet in Hollywood in the early 1990s. Becoming a household name at 14 years old after starring in the 1993 coming-of-age baseball film, The Sandlot, Renna went on to star in Son In Law and The Big Green with his most recent credits coming in award-winning series like Hell’s Kitchen, Bones, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Boston Legal. Most recently, the 38-year-old has even stepped behind the scenes to make his debut as a producer in the 2015 film, Bad Roomies. So, what’s next for the actor best known for yelling, “You’re killing me smalls!” …let’s find out!
Born on March 3, 1979, Renna spent most of his childhood in Boston, Massachusetts before his family moved to Los Angeles where luck was on his side when he auditioned for and won the part of Hamilton “Ham” Porter in the 1993 baseball film, The Sandlot. Renna’s performance was complete perfection as the freckle-faced redhead spouted insults from the field in what he later described an incredibly fun filming experience. “What we did a lot of was, the director would shout lines to me while we were rolling and I would just have to say what he said,” Renna recalled. “So, you know, the whole scene when we play the opposite team when I’m sort of razzing the batters, that whole scene was David Mickey Evans yelling things at me… I’m sure if you found the footage of the entire shot it would be him saying, ‘Say your sister’s up there in left field naked!’ and then it would be the 13-year-old me cracking up, giggling to myself probably, putting my head down, and him going, ‘Come on Pat, focus!’ and I’d be like, ‘Okay, okay, okay.’ And then I had to say the line, and then we’d all laugh and then he’d say another line. That’s pretty much how it went.”
With The Sandlot earning $33 million at box offices worldwide and becoming a cult classic, Renna became a household name and joined Pauly Shore in the 1993 comedy, Son In Law. Much like The Sandlot, Renna’s filming experience was certainly memorable thanks to his scene with the gorgeous Tiffani Thiessen. “There was a shot I was doing in a barn and [the director] made Tiffani come over and lay down next to me and kind of wink at me,” Renna said. “I was definitely old enough to get very red in the face! They were all very sweet, but it was my first real experience with beautiful women and that’s what I remember from Son in Law.”
Renna continued to enjoy his growing success with appearances in Beanstalk in 1994 and a starring role as the goalie on “the worst soccer team to ever hit the field” in The Big Green in 1995. During this time, he also made more appearances on television with credits in series like The X-Files, Salute Your Shorts, Boy Meets World and Home Improvement where even the young star was star struck by Tim Allen. “When you do a TV show, you’re there for like a week, and you’re there with Tim Allen and it’s intimidating,” Renna confessed. “He was really nice, but you know, you’re like, ‘Oh my God, it’s Tim Allen!”
While his early stardom and popularity began to fade in the new millennium, Renna continued to find work and had a string of appearances in popular series like Judging Amy, Boston Legal and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Then, after a cameo in the 2009 supernatural horror flick Life Blood, he took a few years off to settle down with his wife, Jasmin. Five years later, he returned to television with a cameo in an episode of Bones and joined his former Big Green costar, Steve Guttenberg, in the 2015 sci-fi thriller, Lavalantula before announcing he had another project in the works with longtime friends, Jason Schnell and Justin Mooney.
Once again using his former fame from The Sandlot, Renna called on his fans for help when he launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his newest project, a film called Bad Roomies. With over 200 fans raising $75,000, the film was fully funded and marked Renna’s official debut as a producer. Although exhausting, the project rekindled Renna’s passion for film. “We’d act for 10 to 12 hours a day, then we’d produce for four, five, six hours a day, and then we’d sleep… a little bit,” he said. “The funny thing about it is, it seemed like we did everything on this movie in reverse, and differently than most movies and films are made. From conception to actually having the movie wrap, it was under a year. Then everything else, from selling the movie, and funding the movie, and all these different things, it has taken a long time, but we were pretty fast about it.”
Since the film’s release in 2015, Renna has continued to find work and appeared in another horror flick, Fear, Inc., in 2016. Most recently, he’s made a cameo on Hell’s Kitchen and continues to work with Jason Schnell and Tommy Savas on their website, Talk Nerdy with Us. Beyond that, the 38-year-old says he’s still recognized for his early fame from The Sandlot but that he doesn’t mind it one bit! “I would not say it’s frustrating because 99% of the time, it’s people that are remembering a great moment in their childhood and they’re just telling me how much it meant to them, and I just don’t see how that could ever be a burden, you know? It’s pretty awesome,” he says. And, while he usually shies away from spouting his iconic line, he says he hears plenty of it from his friends who, like the rest of America, just can’t help but say it from time to time… “You’re killing me smalls!”